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Maqtal al-Husayn (by al-Khwarazmi)

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This article is about the book of "Maqtal al-Husayn (a)" written by al-Khwarazmi. For other usages, see Maqtal al-Husayn (disambiguation).
Maqtal al-Husayn (a)
Author Muwaffaq b. Ahmad al-Khwarazmi
Original title مَقتَلُ الحُسَین
Language Arabic
Subject Imam al-Husayn (a)
Published 1418/1997-98
Publisher Anwar al-Huda

Maqtal al-Ḥusayn (a) (Arabic: مَقتَلُ الحُسَین), known as Maqtal al-Khwārazmī (Arabic: مقتل الخوارزمی) is a book written by Muwaffaq b. Ahmad al-Khwarazmi (d. 568/1172-73), a sunni scholar. Although the book is called "maqtal" (which refers to books concerned with how Imam al-Husayn (a) was martyred), a considerable part of it as well as its epilogue are concerned with Imam al-Husayn's (a) Uprising and the Event of Karbala. The book is hadith-centered and chains of narrations of hadiths are also mentioned. Although the author is a Sunni scholar, his accounts are considered by many Shiite scholars.

Author

Al-Muwaffaq b. Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Maliki al-Khwarazmi, known as Akhtab Khwarazm (b. 484/1901 - d. 567/1172), was a scholar of fiqh and hadith, an orator, a man of literature, a poet, and an expert of history and biography. He wrote works such as Manaqib al-Imam Abi Hanifa, Radd al-shams li Amir al-Mu'minin, Qadaya Amir al-Mu'minin, Maqtal Amir al-Mu'minin, Maqtal al-Imam al-Sibt al-Shahid, al-Masanid 'Ali al-Najjari, collection of poems, and Fada'il Amir al-Mu'minin known as Manaqib.

Method of Writing

The book is based on citing hadiths. He also mentions chains of narrations of these hadiths. Some hadiths are short and some are long. The major part of his account of Imam al-Husayn's (a) travel to Karbala is cited from Ibn A'tham, but the events of the Day of 'Ashura are cited from Abi Mikhnaf and other historians.

Khwarazmi's citations from Ibn A'tham are not accurate. He does not quote Ibn A'tham's exact words. He changed the words, although the meaning is preserved.

Contents

Although the book is called a "maqtal", the bulk of it is concerned with other issues. The first third of the book is an elaboration of Ahl al-Bayt's (a) virtues, the second third is about the Event of Karbala, and the last third is about al-Mukhtar's Uprising. The book consists of 15 chapters as follows:

  • Imam al-Husayn (a) in Mecca
  • Imam al-Husayn's (a) leaving Mecca until his martyrdom
  • The fate of Imam al-Husayn's (a) killers
  • Poems and elegies
  • Visiting Karbala
  • Al-Mukhtar's Uprising

Significance

Maqtal al-Khwarazmi is significant in different respects:

  • It is old: it is even a century prior to books such as Luhuf.
  • It cites old sources, such as al-Futuh.
  • His non-Shiite position. Although the author is not Shiite, his book was highly regarded of by Shiites, and Imami authors cited his hadiths in their books.

Manuscripts and Publications

Sayyid 'Abd al-'Aziz Tabataba'i mentioned three manuscripts of the book in his Ahl a-Bayt fi l-maktaba al-'arabiyya:

  • A manuscript in the National Library of Tabriz.
  • A manuscript written by Shaykh Muhammad Samawi in Muharram 15, 1361/February 2, 1942.

Maqtal al-Khwarazmi was published three times with the preface of Shaykh Muhammad Samawi: the first was in Najaf in 1367/1947 in Matba'a al-Zahra, the second was by Maktabat al-Mufid in 1399/1978, and the last was by Dar Anwar al-Huda in 1418/1997.

References